The Problem of Eliminating Measles

I would like to draw attention to a recent blog post by Professor Raina MacIntyre of  the University of New South Wales (with whom I have occasionally collaborated). MacIntyre points out the complexity of any attempt to eliminate measles completely partly because of how infectious it is: elementary herd immunity calculations show that the required minimum vaccination rate must be higher than 95 %. However, the main thrust of her arguments is that simply looking at coarse-grained vaccination rates would not identify pockets of susceptible individuals. Though the piece deals with both Australia and the United States, it strikes me that the situations in the two countries are rather different. Whereas pockets of the unvaccinated in Australia may consist largely of migrants from other regions whose status would have been missed in official statistical reports, in the United States these are probably adherents of home-grown anti-vaxx movements.

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